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Barricade the War Machine in Pittsburgh

by Pittsburgh Organizing Group Friday, Jan. 19, 2007 at 8:41 PM

Friday, March 2, will be a day of civil disobedience and direct action against the war machine in Pittsburgh. The main action will be an attempt to barricade the National Robotics Engineering Center, a branch of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) that develops robotic vehicles and weapons delivery systems for the U.S. Army and Marines.

Barricade the War Machine in Pittsburgh

Pull the plug on CMU's National Robotics Engineering Center

Friday, March 2, will be a day of civil disobedience and direct action against the war machine in Pittsburgh. The main action will be an attempt to barricade the National Robotics Engineering Center, a branch of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) that develops robotic vehicles and weapons delivery systems for the U.S. Army and Marines.

Shutdown NREC

7:00am: Gather in Friendship Park (Friendship Ave and Mathilda St in Bloomfield)

7:30am: March to barricade NREC facility (40th and Willow St in Lawrenceville)

Calls are also going out for autonomous actions at military recruitment stations, the offices of politicians supporting the war, and local war profiteers like Bechtel.

Why CMU and NREC?

CMU is one of the largest academic military contractors in the country. Many of the software guidance systems, general communications networking systems, and some of the robotics technology used in Iraq were developed at CMU. And through the efforts of its National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) -- which receives most of its funding from the Pentagon -- it has become the world leader in warfare robotics. Among other monstrosities, it is building is the "Gladiator" Tactical Unmanned Ground Vehicle, a remote controlled robo-tank designed for urban warfare.

The military research done by CMU and NREC is a glaring example of the increasing militarization of academia; students and faculty are knowing, and often unknowing, cogs in an expanding and terrifying war machine. Instead of allowing CMU and NREC to glorify war at the expense of more humanitarian ends, let us start calling and treating them for what they are: war profiteers and merchants of death.

For in-depth information on CMU, NREC, and the increasing militarization of universities, see

Why a blockade and why March 2nd?

We are excited that local protests are being organized for the 4th anniversary of the Iraq war and yet we can't escape the feeling that, at this time in history, something more is needed. Alongside large marches, there is a need for actions that are direct and compelling: actions that speak to public refusal of the war, that are demands -- not requests, that directly confront militarism itself rather than one particular manifestation of it.

On March 2, let's bring anti-war resistance to the center of the public's attention and shut down a local player in the war machine. Attempting to shut down NREC will be a non-violent direct action against the Iraq war as well as a symbolic statement on the increasing degree to which people are prepared to resist endless U.S. wars for empire.

We plan to accomplish this through a complete barricade and shutdown of the NREC facility. The methods used to accomplish this will be determined by participants. Pittsburgh activists are forming affinity groups and we hope that other folks will begin to do so, too. We also hope to collaborate with affinity groups to find ways for diverse actions to work in a way that increases the effectiveness of the overall event. Through honest dialogue, discussion, and reflection we believe it's possible to create a framework that allows space for widely divergent tactics to complement one another in a way that respects the needs and concerns of all.

Whether NREC is shut down on March 2 will depend on how much support we get from local activists and groups around the country. Throughout our five-year history, we have always made a good faith attempt to follow through on what we said we'd do. March 2 will be no different. Many of us will likely get arrested, the police may use violence, but we will do our best to barricade NREC and we hope you'll join us.

If this is something you want to participate in or help with we encourage you to get in touch with us now:

Ways to participate and help:

* Participate in the blockade attempt. Form an affinity group and get in touch. There will likely be a variety of ways to participate, with varying levels of risk.

* Provide on-site medical help in the likely instance that police respond with violence.

* Attend jail support after the action, from 6pm on Friday until everyone is out.

* Donate funds for legal support. People will be getting arrested, donations will ensure they have adequate legal representation and don't languish in jail.

The resources we can promise for the action:

We know that on-the-ground organizing is critical for out-of-town activists to participate in these actions. Therefore, we will strive to be explicit about what resources we are organizing for the events.

So far we have committed to:

* A legal support phone number for the day of events

* Housing for out-of-town activists

* Food for your tummy

* Organized Jail support

What's upcoming:

* A weekend-long gathering in February to further discuss the actions and get to know one another

* Release of an Action FAQ

* An expanded Web site with more flyers, maps, and information

* Additional calls to action from supporting groups

Pittsburgh Organizing Group

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